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When it comes to concussion recovery, many may not be aware that physiotherapists play an important role in guiding individuals back to optimal health. It’s a lesser-known fact that you can seek the expertise of a physiotherapist for concussion management. Let’s delve into the reasons, methods, and benefits of consulting a physiotherapist when dealing with the aftermath of a concussion. 

The Unseen Side of Concussion Management: While conventional wisdom may associate physiotherapists primarily with musculoskeletal issues, their expertise extends to the intricate world of neurological rehabilitation, making them well-equipped to handle concussions. 

A concussion, often referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), occurs when a forceful blow, jolt, or impact to the head or body causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull. This sudden movement can lead to chemical changes in the brain and, in some cases, result in damage to brain cells. Contrary to common misconceptions, a loss of consciousness may not always accompany a concussion. When it comes to concussion prevalence in Australian sports, the top 3 include Australian rules football, rugby, and soccer. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported 480 hospitalisations due to concussion in 2020-2021 for Australian rules football alone, with a significant number of concussions likely not attending hospital. 

Why a Physiotherapist for Concussion? 

  • Comprehensive Assessment: Physiotherapists are skilled in conducting comprehensive assessments, evaluating not only the physical symptoms but also the cognitive and vestibular aspects affected by a concussion. 
  • Tailored Treatment Plans: Unlike a one-size-fits-all approach, physiotherapists design personalised treatment plans based on the individual’s unique symptoms, ensuring targeted and effective rehabilitation. 
  • Holistic Approach: Beyond addressing immediate symptoms, physiotherapists consider the broader context of a patient’s life, incorporating lifestyle modifications, stress management, and gradual return to activity plans. 

What to Expect in a Physiotherapy Session for Concussion: 

  • In-Depth Assessment: Physiotherapists will conduct a thorough evaluation, including symptom checklists, balance and coordination tests, and cognitive assessments to understand the extent of the concussion. 
  • Tailored Rehabilitation Exercises: Based on the assessment, physiotherapists prescribe specific exercises to address balance issues, coordination challenges, and other symptoms associated with concussions. 
  • Gradual Return to Activity: Physiotherapists guide patients through a carefully managed return to daily activities and dual tasking, ensuring a gradual progression to prevent the risk of re-injury. 

The next time you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a concussion, consider adding a physiotherapist to your support team. Their expertise extends beyond the realm of muscles and joints, encompassing the intricate landscape of neurological rehabilitation. By recognising the valuable role of physiotherapists in concussion management, we empower ourselves to take a more informed and comprehensive approach to recovery. Your physiotherapist could be the unseen ally you never knew you needed on your journey back to well-being. 

If you would like further information or to book an appointment with a physiotherapist, please call The Physio Clinic on 8342 1233. 

Written by Jacob Spencer | Physiotherapist at Blackwood